Friday 17 August 2012

What affects Dolphin4 speed - how you can get the best performance from Dolphin.

There are 4 main factors that affect how fast Dolphin will work, they are :

  1. The version you are running ( newer versions are generally faster) 
  2. The network set-up and hardware that you run Dolphin on 
  3. Key database settings and set-up of your specific database, and ongoing maintenance thereof
  4. Customised versions of Dolphin tend to run slower (depending on how much is different from the standard product). 
This post covers the first 2 items , we will cover the last 2 items in the next post. 

Dolphin Version

The first issue affecting the speed of your system is how recently you have upgraded to a newer release of Dolphin.

Every new version of dolphin has enhancements and tweaks that improve performance. As newer technologies and tools become available, we try to incorporate some of the better features into Dolphin , so we can constantly improve our product for all clients and users. Some key releases and the improvements made in that specific release are listed below :

April 2012 (version4.463.34.125)
  • Further improvements in the speed of calculations in the Estimating Module 
  • Improvements in filtering efficiency when applying a filter to the CRM grids and lists 
  • CRM load time reduced 
  • CRM improvements in the calendar control

November 2011 (version 4.459.34.101)
  • More improvements in Production , specifically related to disabling columns that are not being used in your grids as a default. 
  • Improvements to the overall efficiency of the Estimating module and calculations. 
  • CRM Module speed improvements when refreshing your screen  to access the newest data

February 2011 (version 4.448.34.67) 

  • Optimised Stock item queries , which resulted in improvements in the performance of the calculation engine , and improved the overall response time of the system when dealing anything related to a stock item.

November 2010 (version 4.440.34.50)

  • Significant improvements were made to the overall speed and performance of the production module, including Viewing and working with work tickets, orders, delivery details, invoices, Stock and Stock calc's.

If you have not been upgraded in the last 2 years , there is a good chance you are working on a version of Dolphin that does not have the latest new features and improvements and you will not have access to any of the benefits that have been incorporated into the software over the last 18 months.

Hardware and Network 

The second most important issue affecting your perceived speed and ability to work efficiently is Hardware issues , specifically the machine you are running as your Dolphin Server, and the network at your company and the limits of that specific network.

We have a minimum set of guidelines for running Dolphin , the full details are here : Dolphin Tech Specs.

The key points to note about the Hardware you buy or use for Dolphin  is the following :

  • Dolphin cannot run efficiently on a machine with less than 4GB RAM, and a 500GB Hard Drive, particularly if you are going to network and use that machine as a server for multiple users. 
  • You require a minimum of 20GB Hard Disk space free for Dolphin to use for a single user, and 80GB if you have more than 1 user.  
  • Single users can achieve fair to acceptable speeds and performance with a dual-core CPU , but a quad-core CPU is a requirement if you are going to network Dolphin , and is generally recommended for all installations. 
  • If you are going to run Dolphin from a machine that is also someone's work PC (using their PC as the Dolphin server in effect), they will require a minimum of 6GB of RAM , otherwise Dolphin may not run efficiently. 
  • If Dolphin is networked in your company with more than 1 user logging in, each machine that is used can have as little as 2GB, with a recommended 4GB of RAM being optimal. 
The main things to remember regarding your existing Network infrastructure is the following : 
  • Dolphin will run slower when your network speed is affected by other processes, so if for example you run your mail server on the same machine as Dolphin, this will impact the speed at which Dolphin performs. 
  • If your company runs large back-up processes, or transfers large amounts of digital data across your network , when these process or transfers are happening,  they will affect the overall system performance of Dolphin.
  • Anything that creates a dip in the network speed at your company will affect how fast Dolphin responds and system performance overall will be affected. 
Whilst we do not set up and configure networks or hardware specifically, we are happy to discuss the requirements for running our software with your IT department, or with your Network Service Provider , or IT service provider, and consult with them to create the optimal set-up for you. 

In our next post , we will briefly cover some myths about PostgreSQL, and also how your postgreSQL database should be set-up for optimal performance of Dolphin4. 

We will also discuss how and why customising Dolphin could end up creating a slower overall system. Customising in this context refers specifically to having changes made by our Distributors that cannot be made by yourself on the user interface. It does not refer to selecting a theme, or dragging and dropping fields onto the main grids , or grouping data by a specific field. 

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